June 20, 2013
Written by Victoria Baker
Thursday, 09 June 2011 12:49
In Ancient Greece, the art of writing was often just as much an oral tradition as a written one. Traveling bards, like the infamous Homer, would recite their creations. Using the medium of stories like The Iliad and The Odyssey they would magically transport the listener on a heroic journey. But both these epics were created without writing sources. Between the decline of Mycenaean and the emergence of classical Greek civilizations the inhabitants of the Greek lands had not yet acquired the familiarity with Phoenician alphabetic writing that would lead to classical Greek literacy and in turn, Etruscan, Roman, and modern European literacy. Therefore it can be concluded that the epics must have been created either before the end of the eighth century B.C.E. or so shortly afterwards that the use of alphabetic writing had not yet been developed sufficiently to record long pieces of writing.
It is probable that Homer’s name was applied to two individuals differing in style and artistic accomplishment, born perhaps as much as a century apart, but practicing the same traditional craft of oral composition and recitation. Although each became known as Homer, it may be (as one ancient source says) that “homros” was a word for a blind man and so came to be used generically to refer to the old and often sightless wandering reciters of heroic legends. Thus there could have been many Homers.
The two epics Homer is generally regarded as writing, however, have been as highly prized in modern as in ancient times for their vividness of expression, their keenness of personal characterization, and their lasting interest, whether in narration of action or in animated dramatic dialogue.
Whether you write or recite your fiction the object of any work of art is to transport your audience and I hope that any class you decide to take will do just that...give your inspiration wings to fly and your imagination the confidence and security to strive ever higher...
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